I’ve had a chance to read the article I mentioned yesterday, “Parking Lott: The role of Web logs in the fall of Sen. Trent Lott,” and the writer, Chris Wright, does make a strong case that blogs were instrumental in turning up the heat on Lott after he praised the segregationist politics of Strom Thurmond. I’m still inclined to use a little caution about how crucial they really were in this case (which puts me in the rather strange position of agreeing with the ubiquitous Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, on something), but I’m willing to grant Wright’s point.
I’m still struggling with my own questions about the instant publication associated allowed by blogging, because as Jason puts it, “the effect of immediacy is to accelerate and harden opinion.” I’m not sure I’m artciulating anything new here, but for me, reading some of the “high-profile” blogs feels a little bit like listening to talk radio: a charismatic figure stirs up people’s frustrations and fears by linking to a news article or bit of information. Then a feeding frenzy takes place, with dozens of other bloggers quickly linking to this story or adding their comments, creating the noise effect I was talking about yesterday.
Weez is a little more optimisitic about the possibility of finding a “melody” in the midst of all the noise. I don’t quite know where I’m going with these thoughts. Right now, it’s a vague feeling of dissatisfaction, a feeling that some of the same patterns that already exist in the mainstream media (a small number of powerful voices drowning out the thousands or millions of less powerful voices) are manifesting themselves in the blogosphere.
I don’t have a conclusion here, just a few thoughts that have been hammering at me over the last few days, feelings of ambivalence about the overall effects of the weblog concept of time.